Member Profile

Total number of comments: 87 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:23)


Showing comments 87 - 1

  • Yemen Bombing: It's not ISIL and it's not Sunni-Shiite Conflict
    • Yes indeed, I found this a very informative and clear-eyed essay. Yet another reason why this site has been on my daily news "Go To" list for over ten years now.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • During the course of the war both countries conducted offensives against the opposing armies and seized territory beyond their original borders, but when the war was settled the original border was ultimately restored. This is obviously what Prof. Cole meant.

  • Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy: Peddling old Iraq Myths Again
    • Sure does! The US ruled by a cabal of corrupt corporatists and a woefully inept and crooked dynasty as their stooges. Or dynasties, if you want to include the possible Clinton dynasty in the wings, a shadow dynasty as it were. Makes you wonder what the American Revolutiuon was all for, if two centuries later we go back to the rule by kings, and very bad excuses for kings at that. Remember when many people were scared and agitated at the notion of a "Kennedy dynasty?" That never really came to pass but it was a favorite Republican boogeyman for decades. What hypocrites they are, now that their preferred dynasty is taking the reins.

  • GOP's Scott Walker: Pitches possible Syria War to make us Like Him
    • Since 2001, the US has been at war continually, broken several countries beyond repair, and accomplished little beyond hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, and creating thousands of new enemies. Maybe, just maybe, these wars aren't such a brilliant idea? Not that anyone gets elected in the US saying such things in the face of psychopathic worship of "heroes" like professional assassins (snipers).

    • Hmm. Is that final sentence a purely rhetorical question? (There IS yet another Bush dynast seeking the presidency, after all. Another stooge.)

  • New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change
    • As recently (?) as 1973, the Saudis were willing to use an oil boycott against the West to attack Israel and Israel's pereceived allies. The Saudis were seen (by Westerners) as intransigent and hostile. Pundits discussed military operations to seize Saudi oil fields (I still have a board wargame on this topic, "Oil War", 1975). But since about the late 70s, the Saudis seen to have slid into a basically pro-Western stance, at least on the part of the ruling dynasts. They've abandoned their stance against Israel -- even ally with Israel, if not openly -- and schmooze with American presidents, buy military toys from the US, participate in military exercises, support wars against Iraq -- what gives with this? Did the Saudis become pragmatists, opportunists, or is this a demonstration of what the ruling class there will do to preserve its own power and interests, which have nothing to do with the cause of pan-Arabism, or pan-Islam, or being the guardian of Islam's holy sites?

      It's somewhat puzzling, how this change occurred and how the Saudis and US administrations since Nixon and Ford have been so cozy with each other. I'm sure there are Big Oil reasons involved. But is that all? Simple greed and money and economics?

    • Heh! I live in Texas (then and now) and remember those times! Same as it ever was...

    • I can't be the only person who sees collusion at work between the US and the Saudis to keep oil prices low for a while in an attempt to wreck the Iranian and Russian economies, whatever the collateral damages or domestic concerns, which both partners believe they can absorb in pursuit of their greater goals. Low oil prices also hurt ISIL financing.

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • If the Saudis acquire The Bomb (as it used to be called), it would be as likely for a deterrent against the US as Israel, since the US is the nation most likely to want to seize Saudi oil resources in the event of a global crisis. I've read before about elaborate sabotage mechanisms in place at Saudi oil installations, ready to be triggered in the event of an invasion or attack. Atomic weapons would be even more useful to forestall or negate such a move. But I'm sure it also will displease the Israelis, who have grown accustomed to holding a nuclear monopoly in the Mideast and want nothing more than to maintain this.

  • Top 5 Reasons Obama is Seeking Congressional Approval for War on ISIL
    • Yes, it's great that people in the Middle East continue to be the pawns in US political theatre.

  • Shock & Awe In Syria: It never Works
    • UN? What UN?
      But when the US does it, it's not against international law!

      How 'bout those evil Russkies in Ukraine, eh?

      Lots of refugees and crimes created by Boko Haram, and there's OIL in Nigeria, too, but we aren't in any hurry to get involved in African squabbles, are we?

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • Oh, exactly. Ukraine is in Russia's back yard and historically a part of Russian empires/confederations. Since when has the Mideast been the 51st state of the USA? Or is it just Israel?

  • Should Americans be allowed to Serve in Foreign Armies?
    • Americans serve today in the British army and French Foreign Legion as well (service in the latter for 5 years earns one a French/EU passport, if desired). They seem to stay off the radar and are tolerated by all sides. Last time I inquired, non-citizens today cannot enlist in the Canadian regular forces but can join their reserve units.

  • One Nation, under SWAT: The undemocratic Militarization of the Police
  • The Long Knives Come out in Baghdad
    • PS (my original edit got accidentally deleted while typing) -- further censure to the NATO puppets and American lapdogs who also sent soldiers to kill and be killed in support of neo-Con hegemonist fantasies. Praise be for the French, who saw through this pernicious yet half-baked scheme and refused to be suckered into it, and were rewarded for their intelligence by being subject to tantrums from the American media and public.

    • Yes, I like this perspective. I hold Tony Blair in only slightly less contempt than Bush. He acted as enabler and cheerleader when he opught to have known better. I'm still not sure what his objective was in that -- to curry more favor with the Americans? (To what end?) Or was he subject to the same brand of wishful thinking/self-delusion that Bush was patently addicted to?

  • Why is Obama bombing Iraq, Really?
    • I have to wonder about the actual (not media-friendly version) quality of Kurdish units or leadership. The Kurds have had years to dig in and prepare to defend their region. Yet ISIS rolls over them in a week? Something isn't right with this picture. ISIS didn't become the Wehrmacht overnight.

    • I do not claim to be an expert in this field, but some reading of WWI history has opened my eyes to what a close run thing the Gallipoli campaign actually was for the British and what a narrow escape from disaster for the Turks. If things had gone only a little differently at the beginning of the operation, it would be seen today as a daring, bold attack worthy of Alexander or Napoleon. A lot of things went wrong for the British, such as the naval commander losing his nerve at taking more losses than anticipated from mines and not forcing the Dardanelles as could have been achieved at the onset; and the troops that landed did not push inland as fast or capably as they should have. And a lot went right for the Turks, beginning with British bad luck and uncoordination and ending with the rise of Attaturk in the nick of time. Their army almost broke, too, but the British finally gave up first.

      Things could have easily gone the other way, as Allenby's dramatic victories in Palestine and the Levant showed in 1917-18, and had the British seized Caonstantinople in a lightning assault as planned, the Ottomans might have capitulated years early and who knows what the results might have been for the rest of the combatants? An early settlement among the powers? Maybe no Russian revolution? Fascinating counterfactuals.

    • Simple. He's doing it because it's safe -- politically and militarily. He gets to look like a real tough guy at home and abroad and it's very easy to act tough when you pick fights with enemies who basically can't hit back. So we bomb Iraqis again, not Syrians or Iranians or No. Koreans or (heaven forbid) Russian separatists.

  • A Discourse of sexualized violence rises among the Israel Firsters, including on Bill Maher
    • This is all very disturbing.
      I begin to see strange parallels with Israel's rising militarism, segregated social order, and cult of zealous patriotism with ancient Sparta. Once both were seen as resolute underdogs fighting to achieve liberty and freedom. Great victories were won against all odds. Then beleagured Sparta /Israel turns to militarizing its society from top to bottom in order to maintain itself in what it sees as a hostile neighborhood. It subjugates natives (Palestinians = Helots) and reduces them to non-citizen status and increasingly fears them and their greater numbers, lest they turn subversive. The ruling class grows corrupt and decadent and oppressive at home and abroad. Its military might is supreme -- for a while -- but eventually it alienates so many rival states and has such a high level of internal suppression that it becomes rigid, stratified, and ripe for disaster. Finally its minority of full citizens can no longer control all their subjected peoples and one military defeat crumbles the entire rotten edifice. Former slaves are freed and the old rulers never regain their former power or status. Israel is following in the footsteps of history.

  • British Cabinet Member Resigns over UK Gov't Gaza Stance, wanted to go to ICC
    • Good on her. British politicians seem to resign on matters of principle far more regularly than their American counterparts. We could learn from their example.

  • Israel Still Holding Gaza Civilians Hostage, Doesn't Get Geneva Conventions
    • If only there was some enforcement mechanism at the UN to these international conventions, maybe this sort of thing would mean something. Sadly, until then, Israel can continue to thumb its nose at the world community. There are two sets of standards that apply to the behavior of nations, and Israel and the US do not subject themselves to the same rules they apply to others.

  • Proposition 1: How to Swindle the Middle Class
    • This is sad and infuriating at the same time. These sort of three-card monte games played on average working taxpayers are becoming all too common. I have been evaluating other states to which to retire and this sort of stunt pretty much hammers Michigan out of the running (and it was already not looking like a great bet compared with other states, in terms of tax policies and other economic indicators).

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • This is not even a "war", it is a vast siege -- the Siege of Gaza, like the Siege of Lenningrad from 1941-44. An awful, brutal, cruel spectacle. I'm surprised that there isn't already a new armed uprising in the West bank in reaction to the slaughter of fellow Palestinians, to say nothing of what was once a sense of pan-Arabism. If Jordan, Egypt, Syria, or Hezbollah threatened to enter the war, Israel might have to reconsider its actions. But this is not 1973. Syria is torn apart with internal strife, Egypt has been co-opted by the US and Israel (shrewd move on their part), Jordan is a prostrate state just glad to hang on to some stability; Iraq and Libya have been eliminated as active opponents of Israel, as they once were; only the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon have any real capacity to make trouble for Israel in support of their suffering brethren. But they also have self-interested reasons for standing by. So the misery of friendless Gaza goes on and on.

      meanwhile, the US pushes for sanctions against Russia, because Russia, you know, is a threat to world peace. And also Iran.

  • Night of Destiny in Palestine: A Third Uprising?
    • The US could stop this in a day if they subjected Israel to the same threats and sanctions the Americans routinely invoke against nations on their enemies list as disturbers of world peace. But since the US and Israel both use the other as their cat's paw in Mideast meddling, this will never happen.

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • I'm curious about one item you touched on -- insurance coverages for air flights. Do insurance companies pay for damages caused by acts of war? Will this be a way for insurers to dodge having to cover the loss of Malaysian Air 17 (or similar flights)?

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity
    • Russia vs Ukraine, well, I have read items describing how NATO has been conniving with Ukrainian puppets in order to establish NATO/US military bases in the Ukraine and particularly the Crimea. So it may be understandable why Russia would regard this as unacceptable and take counter measures. Not that this excuses the pro-Russia rebels for firing on a civilian aircraft, even though this was probably a ghastly mistake rather than a deliberate act of terrorism. The Americans shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 and offered similar excuses, so methinks the US doth protest a bit too much in this regard, esp. given the thousands of civilian deaths American gunfire, drones, and bombs have created since 2001. There are no clean hands here. And "blowback" pretty aptly describes the results of American policies to arm an Islamic fundamentalist resistance to the Soviets in Afghanistan, doesn't it?

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Having your club dancing disturbed by noise is clearly far more traumatic and dangerous than being shelled by tanks and artillery or being bombed from the air and assaulted by land units, not to mention being subjected to an air-sea-land blockade and your family denied normal access to healthcare, education, employment, political rights, or security.

  • What the West means by "stability" in the Middle East
    • A very accurate analysis. The US only supports "democracy" when it gets the results it likes from a puppet state. And as many commentators are beginning to realize and address, the US is no longer a functional democracy -- through many means and mechanisms, it is now a de facto oligarchy.

      I am old enough to remember a brief time when Lebanon was a beacon of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Near East and Beirut was referred to as "Paris on the Levant." How very sad that it has been torn apart by power politics and outside meddling. That post-WWII interlude of tranquility didn't last long.

  • Rand Paul to Rick Perry: Why Send US Troops to an Iraq that Won't Defend Self?
    • Democrats have been thinking they're about to turn Texas blue with Hispanic voters for a decade at least and it still isn't close to happening. The Democrat Party in Texas is a joke, they haven't won a statewide election in 20 years, and the state has never been redder. A lot of things have to happen before Texas will even be in play nationally, including Hispanic voters actually VOTING in numbers proportionate to their percentage of the population, an end to the gerrymandered districts that Republicans are using to suppress voter turnout and give themselves safe districts, and the Dems fielding candidates that know how to win at the state level.

  • Netanyahu's Bad Faith: From Gag orders to War as Bread and Circuses
    • Not to wish for a larger or bloodier clash, but it does seem that the history of these recurring low-level Israeli wars against their neighbors or occupied lands have gotten more common and one-sided since the time the Israelis stopped worrying about getting into a larger war against enemies who could seriously hit back. What I mean to say is, it's been 1973 since the state of Israel was actually attacked in a meaningful way by Arabs. Everything since has been tit-for-tat terrorism OR Israeli aggression against a perceived threat. Once Israel feared its neighbors and was more circumspect. Now that Israel has the bomb, and the US as its poodle, and has divided or co-opted its former enemies, Israel has little to fear by starting these wars and feels it has nothing to lose or risk. I can't help but think that lack of serious Arab deterrence has caused more violence in this region, not less. Once one side thinks it holds all the cards, what's to stop it from doing as it pleases?

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • Thanks. I figured there was a disproportional cost involved. Not that this seems to make any strategic difference, as long as Israel and the US are prepared to spend whatever it takes to maintain a technological edge. Hamas' funding can't match what the US gives Israel and no doubt it is harder than ever for Hamas to receive imported/smuggled weapons or weapon parts.

    • I would like to see an analysis of the cost-benefits ratio of the exchange of missile fire. How much do the crude rockets fired by Palestinians cost to make, how much are Israeli interceptor missiles costing? Is it possible for Israel to exhaust its supply of Iron Dome missiles before the Palestinians run out of their cheaper ones? Or can Hamas swamp the defensive systems with more launches than can be defended against? Then what? Also, despite American subsidies, can the Israelis indefinitely afford to spend more on their military than it costs Hamas (in terms of dollars, not lives) to wage these low-level wars?

    • I have often referred to the British and Ireland as an example of how NOT to go insane in response to terrorism. During the IRA bombing campaigns that frequently targeted England (even the Prime Minister) as well as in Ulster (and even assassinated a member of the royal family, Lord Mountbatten), the British government did NOT invade Eire in response, or bomb Dublin. The IRA was dealt with by police action, supported by military resources. A wider and needless war did not result from decades of Irish "troubles."

  • Neo-Zangid State erases Syria-Iraq Border, cuts Hizbullah off from Iran
    • By this map, I am looking forward, at least , to the eminent restoration of the Byzantine Empire! Finally, Greeks in charge of Constantinople again!

  • Don't Trust the Bombers on Iraq: "Shock and Awe" Never Works
    • If the US bankrupts itself hurling multi-million dollar missiles, bombs, and planes at cheap pickup trucks and hovels, who really "wins" the conflict? The battlefield is only part of the picture.

    • Exactly. Glad someone else pointed this out. Milosevic lost his nerve, the Serbs were not cowed by American might and I read at the time that US analysts were very surprised to see so many Serbian assets emerging after the ceasefire to withdraw, forces the Americans never suspected existed. The Serbs learned very quickly how to conceal and disperse their forces. NATO land units would have walked into a bloodbath had they been ordered to invade before Milosevic folded his hand.

    • The effects of Allied bombing on the ability of Germany to resist are hotly debated. However, it is instructive to note that German war production increased throughout WWII until late 1944/early 1945, when Germany itself was being overrun by Allied armies. Only that put an end to the German military's ability to fight.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • Che macello! It's a Machiavellian mess! The Americans hate the Iranians in part because the Israelis hate and fear the Iranians. And the US opposes Iran-backed Assad in Syria. But we favor Iran-backed Alawi in Iraq. We favor the Syrian rebels, who are Sunnis, allied with Sunni extremists in Iraq, who we now dislike. The American public doesn't understand any of this (but hates the Iranians reflexively anyway). The American government seems to be planning to attack both pro and anti-Iranian groups, which will either please, anger, or simply confuse Iran. Meanwhile, Netanyahu looks on and glowers at everybody. Won't somebody make up their minds??

  • Did a Karzai No-Show Spoil Obama's announcement of end of Afghanistan War?
    • I as well. I would have thought this would have been the first thing the Russians squelched in response to ham-handed US intervention in Ukraine and the threats and sanctions since.

  • Operation American Spring aims to drive Obama from office this Friday
    • These are yet more unmistakable signs that America has become seriously, psychotically, demented.

  • Condoleezza Rice, Charged with War Crimes at Rutgers, withdraws as Commencement Speaker
    • Good for Rutgers, giving this war criminal the heave-ho. Shame on them that she got that close in the first place. Rice and all the senior Bush administration lackeys ought to have shoes thrown at them wherever they go for the rest of their lives. It's the least they should receive, since they seem likely to escape the legal prosecution at The Hague they so richly deserve.

  • Is Russia a "Regional Power" or "Geopolitical Threat"? Obama argues with Romney from the Hague
    • Good specific comments above. And as a general observation, I would volunteer that it is better to be "weak" but wise rather than "strong" but stupid. "Strong" America tore apart Iraq based on lies and deceit. Very, very stupid, as well as immoral. I see no virtue or strength in folly.

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • The Russians have been playing these games a long time now, against experts, and the neo-con Americans are callow rookies at it. They'll be taken to the cleaners by savvy operators like in the Kremlin. They've already been outmaneuvered in Georgia and Ukraine and no amount of hysteria over Crimea can change it.

    • While I have no trust in the neo-cons or their enablers, I seriously doubt they really want a war with someone who is capable of fighting back in a major way. So not Russia, then -- but quite possibly a proxy, like Iran, is in their sights. Iran has been for years anyway, the agitators are just waiting for the right casus belli. And they only *think* Iran can't fight back in a significant way.

      We certainly do want to surround, isolate, and intimidate Russia, but I don't see it leading to an open military clash. Too risky even for idiot neo-cons. Too much chance of NOT making money out of it.

    • Thank you for that, Andreas Lord. The lies of the Iraq war have been swept under the rug and everyone in power pretends not to see. No wonder we keep repeating the same bloody mistakes. But as long as the suffering is confined to "other" places and "other" peoples (including the professional American military caste), Americans blithely go about inflicting war on others at their whim, on their way to the shopping mall or while watching corporate-controlled TV.

  • Russian Annexation of Crimea, Israeli Annexation of Palestine
    • If only Israel had annexed the Crimea, all would be well! (wink)

    • PS: I am mortified that I neglected mentioning Tibet!

    • Perhaps. But I can't help but feel that international law is often a toothless beast when there is no reliable enforcement mechanism. As long as NATO and the UN serve the wishes of American geo-political interests, as I would argue they generally do, international law is too often a smokescreen for the powerful to do as they please, and the weak accept what they must accept. Otherwise, a lot of the Bush II administration would be at The Hague right now in the docket.

    • Oh, and I just remembered how the Argentines attempted to take the Falklands by force and force the British to accept a fait accompli. The Argentine position seems to be that geographical proximity trumps the rights of the islanders to self-determination. And they evidently have not abandoned that stance. Nor has mainland China forsworn their "right" to conquer Taiwan by force if they so choose.

    • If we start going over population transfers, immigrations, and colonizations, this issue will never resolve. Where is the statute of limitations drawn? A hundred years ago? Ten? Two hundred? Americans better be careful how they define this, since most of North America belonged to Indian tribes not so very long ago. Perhaps the US should evacuate non-Native Americans from the Dakotas, Oklahoma, much of the Great Plains and Southwest, at the least, and return it to indigenous inhabitants? That's not gonna happen, so the moral high ground here is very murky.

      I recall India absorbing Sikkim; Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still controls a third of that island via a puppet regime; there have been break-ups of established states into new states (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Bangladesh, Eritrea), sometimes with violence. We may come to see this era of relatively stable borders as an anomaly rather than a new standard.

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • Of course. This goes back to J Edgar Hoover keeping FBI files on anyone in government he suspected he might need to control. He effectively blackmailed every administration until his death to retain his power and position. This has been well documented. To expect no less of the CIA and its allies is sheer naivete.

  • A Russo-Iranian Bloc against the United States?
    • If the Russians want to really cock a snoot at Uncle Sam becoming a big buttinski over the Crimea (ANOTHER in a long list of places "vital to US interests" all of a sudden that 99% of Americans couldn't find on a map) then they ought to move full steam ahead on delivering and deploying that snappy new air defense system they've sold to the Iranians but not fully supplied. And beef it up. Make both the Americans and the Israelis cry foul.

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • Bravo! Well said, Dr. Cole. No nation that built its foundations on genocide the way the US has (just ask the next American Indian you chance to meet, IF you ever do) has a right to wag fingers at other nations and preach about higher morality. The illegal and still-unpunished invasion and dismantling of Iraq is an even more recent example of this country's shameless in advancing its own imperial agenda at the expense of whatever hapless civilians get in its way.

  • Iraq: A country whose Future was Stolen (Jamail)
    • Truly a sobering story. Have any lessons been learned by the US? I see little evidence of it. The American public has learned nothing and remembers nothing. I feel sorrow for the Iraqis who have been the victims of American dreams of hegemony. The US is very good at breaking countries, not so good at putting them back together. I wish these "anniversary" features the US media is producing -- usually centered on more military worship -- would instead replay a loop of the brave Iraqi who throw his shoes at Bush. That summed up the whole ugly experience. I hope people line up to throw shoes at Bush's presidential library when it opens.

  • After Benedict: Religions have to Democratize if they are to Survive
    • Humans are fallible and an individual's time on earth is brief but the central truths of the Church are held to be eternal. Too many people are looking at the messengers and not the message when they criticize organized religion (ANY religion), which has always been a problem with the religious impulse.

      The Catholic Church is right to maintain and defend its core doctrines in a world that is devoted to fashion trends, shallowness, and lack of reflection. This is not to say that doctrine does not and should not evolve -- it is meant to say that the Church should not be expected to sway with the prevailing winds and concern itself with popularity polls. That's not its job.

      There is a benefit to organization and "bureaucracy" that explains why some religions prosper and endure and other movements are mere personality cults that wither when their prime movers leave the scene. Institutionalization allows the message to be preserved and disseminated through the generations. The wheel doesn't need to be reinvented over and over again. This is a strength of all the organized religions, although there is always a downside, the effect of human failure and folly. That's life.

      I defend the Church but I do not defend the indefensible actions of individuals. All too frequently, the Church and its stewards have forgotten the immortal wisdom of Stan Lee's Spider-man -- with great power also comes great responsibility. It's corny but it's true.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • If I were a patriotic Russian leader or soldier, I would be quite incensed at the state of the world from my perspective. Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, Russia has been truncated geographically and militarily, hollowed economically, and sees its former satellites becoming American proxies now and American military bases surrounding what's left of Russian territory. American bases in central Asia! Never in the bad old Communist days would the Soviets tolerated this level of threat. I don't know why the West doesn't expect a potentially vicious reaction by the Russians at some point, after decades of humiliations and sabotage, and they may not find many allies left when they look abroad.

  • Blaming Gen. Petraeus for the Wrong Mistakes: Remembering Afghanistan (Cook)
    • The American army is just so top-heavy, reliant on excessive logistical support and massive firepower. They are usually both ignorant/contemptuous of and frightened of local civilinas and call for heavy weapons or aerial support at the slightest whiff of hostile fire. They can't seem to survive overseas in combat zones without huge bases, junk food and drugs, creature comforts, and overwhelming conventional superiority. The guerillas, innurred to the land, culture, and hardship, run rings around the ponderous Americans and their body armor, cyber-weapons, and vehicles. This war was never going to be won. What Afghan would regard these alien, robotic-looking infidels with their invisible eyes, profane speech, arrogant attitudes, and callousness toward Afghan lives as any sort of trustworthy allies or friends? Our presence breeds enemies. The sooner we learn this, the better.

    • Yes. As long as the military places its priority on protecting AMERICAN lives, they will continue to forfeit mission successes and thus lose wars. Soldiers are conditioned to expect to sacrifice their lives for each other and only sometimes for "the mission' and almost never for non-combatants -- the reason the "mission" exists. In insurgencies, the PRIME focus of an outside force (e.g., the US in Afghanistan) has got to be to protect civilians even at the cost of greater military casualties. Otherwise you alienate the locals and lose the political struggle, and any tactical military successes are so much dog-wash.

      You'd think Vietnam would have taught this lesson, but no. I see that once again a concerted military effort is underway to portray the latest wars as lost by namby-pamby politicians, craven diplomats, and weasely generals and REMFs, same as in the post-Vietnam era.

      Going into Afghanistan with guns blazing and no-holds barred didn't succeed for the much more ruthless Soviets, so why do some American officers think we only needed to "take off the gloves" to blast the Taliban away? The idea that any army can kill its way into victory in a guerilla war has been proven wrong countless times in the modern period. Why doesn't the US military get it?

  • Drone, Sanctions affecting Medicine, Intensify US-Iran Tensions
    • Israel can defy UN resolutions with relative impunity. But Iran defies Uncle Sam, and scares Israel, so they must pay and be threatened with attack. yep, seems fair and even-handed to me.

  • Brandeis U. Owes Jimmy Carter an Apology: Israelis agree they run Apartheid State, as Far Right Wing Coalition Emerges
    • Maybe this is indeed the wave of the future. More repression, more state control, more surveillance, far fewer civil rights or liberties. Maybe this is just part of a receeding wave of democracy and freedom that is being replaced by police state fascism and corporate feudalism. In which case apartheid in Israel will not necessarily wither away and more such practices will become commonplace. We shouldn't be complacent about "progress" in human affairs.

  • A Letter from Benghazi on Crappy Republican Talking Points
    • It seems to me that the Libyan authorities have plenty of self-interested reasons for wanting to push the blame for this attack on rogue militias, "outsiders", or "foreign jihadists", whatever the truth to the matter. I would take whatever is said by Libyan officials for public consumption, esp. to American listeners, with a big grain of salt.

  • Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran
    • RE: false flag attacks, how about an Israeli sub sinking a major US warship in the Persian Gulf? The Iranians get blamed, and voila, brand new oil war.

  • Top Seven Errors President Obama has made on the Middle East
    • Viz. point 2 above, there are also in Afghanistan no significant insurgent groups willing to allow themselves to be bought off, as the Americans bought off many Sunni rebels via the "Awakening" plan. Paying Iraqi guerrillas not to fight us was the key to tamping down Iraq, from an American perspective.

  • Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb
    • And these so-called warnings continued through the first decade of this century as well. The goalposts keep getting pushed back, but the same dire predictions continue.

  • Top Ten Bad Signs for Romney
    • It's just like the primaries -- the more people get to see and hear Romney, the less enthused they are about him.

  • Mitt Romney's coming War on Iran: A Tale of Two Conventions
    • War is about the only thing the US can still do better than anyone else -- up to a certain degree (Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the US still cannot fight an insurgency with any great success). No one in the Mideast trusts us, no one much admires us. and we're in over our heads when it comes to diplomacy and intrigue with far more accomplished players. If the US didn't have its Big Stick, no one would take us seriously at all, with our economy wrecked and our finances tottering and our leadership wholly corrupt and unprincipled.

      The American willingness to use force or the threat of force to get its way, combined with bribery and deceit, is bound to produce disaster after disaster for themselves and others.

  • Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others
  • Top Ten Signs you Might be a Nazi Loser
    • It is sad to think that the US military now includes a substantial "skinhead" white supremicist element. Some of the entries in this list could easily apply to a number of well-documented and in some cases well-publicized cases of soldiers who speak of and treat Middle Easterners/Muslims as "sand niggers" and "ragheads", pose with SS-rune Nazi flags, and celebrate atrocities carried out against helpless villagers as much as any German force running amok on the WWII Eastern Front.

  • The Great Wall of . . . Arizona (Miller)
    • Nobody (i.e., the surveillance state and its operatives) ever went broke in the US selling fear and snake oil to the rubes (i.e., the rest of us scared sheep).

  • CIA ‘revives attacks on rescuers’ in Pakistan (Woods)
    • The Slate ran a feature on this very issue today, here: link to

    • Why isn't Pakistan shooting down a few drones, to get its point across? Time for the Pakistanis to stop letting themselves be used as American punching bags. Can the CIA be paying off EVERY Pakistani general and politician? I would think there might be one or two patriots there who object to being seen as helpless stooges for Uncle Sam's wargames in South Asia.

  • Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden
    • This is a great statement by Dr. Cole. Romney is simply a bonehead, even when he tries to throw red meat to his supporters he dumbs down every discussion he's involved with. How did American politicians get so clueless about the world, it's history, and the different people and cultures that dominate it? American exceptionalism is mainly exceptionally ignorant.

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
  • The Arab Revolutions Continue, its Just not Mostly on American TV
    • The Tuareg situation is very interesting to me (and not because they've become a car somehow), as a history buff. I have a lot of inherent sympathy for the wild men of the world, what few there are, and the nomadic, stateless peoples who have been under such oppression from settled peoples and governments. I think there needs to be some provision made to respect the rights and lifestyles of such people, be they Tuaregs, Australian aborigines, Inuit, American Indians, Kurds, Baluchi nomads, Gypsies/Roma, Bushmen, and etc.

      The Tuareg remind me of the Highlanders of Scotland, historically. Seen as savages by the urbanized, settled, "civilized" folk whom they had traditionally been a thorn in the side to. Ruthlessly suppressed by the forces of modernity and "progress".

      Ideally, the Tuareg would have an area of their traditional homeland in the Sahara to roam freely. They shouldn't be imprisoned by artificial national borders and they do not really have anything in common culturally or historically with the other Malians. A lot of the troubles with the Tuareg result from the blinkered attempts of authorities to force them to abandon their lifestyles, as authority always seems to want to do to free people who won't obey the Rules. There is a better way to approach this problem than forcing the Tuareg into militancy to defend what they see as a threat to their existence.

  • Israel's Atom Bomb Factory in 3D
    • Why would Israel possibly think it needs 400 nuclear weapons? Is it considering war with Russia or the US? Really, this is a preposterous attitude for them to take, at a time when the rest of the world is calling for nuclear disarmament or ongoing reductions in warheads as a goal.

  • Afghanistan Massacre: Unstable Soldiers, Untreated Brain Injuries, PTSD
    • Soldiers with scant regard for local inhabitants, desecration of enemy (or just suspected enemy) dead, shoot-first tactics, night-time raids on civilians, poses with the SS flag, coal-scuttle helmets, and massacres of villagers. Achtung, baby, the Wehrmacht has returned, and we are the new Reich.

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • If the US REALLY disapproved of an Israeli strike on Iran, and wanted to stop it, then the US should make it clear that if they detected such an attack was imminent or underway, then American jets and missiles would interdict Israeli attackers and stop them by force. THAT would deter an attack. Otherwise, the US is just blowing smoke.

  • Egypt Soccer Protests Challenge Military Regime
    • This strangely reminds me of readings from Byzantine history -- the racing factions in the hippodrome of Constantinople, particularly the Blues and the Greens (known by the color of the livery of the various racing teams) had the power to break Emperors by taking to the streets. See the Nika riots of the sixth century, for example. Everything old is new again!

  • Can Obama Prevail against a Romney-Netanyahu Ticket? - Robertson
    • One hopes that the spate of successful US special forces operations doesn't create a false sense of omnipotence in the Oval Office or a reliance on military options as somehow predictable and decisive.

  • Will Pakistan's Crisis affect US in Afghanistan
    • The last I read, the Pakistanis were still denying the US access to their land transportation routes, and are planning to implement new taxes on the supplies once the roads are reopened. This will increase costs of supplying the military in Afghanistan even beyond the already stratospheric heights. Guess who pays for that?

  • Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions
    • Well, thanks to the electoral college, there's not much point in WHO we vote for in all but a handful of states. Since I live in a deep Red state, I can vote for Nero or Minnie Mouse for all the difference it makes.

    • It's almost the same policy as viz. Cuba -- once Uncle Sam takes an irrational hatred against a government ("regime" is usually trotted out to indicate a government we don't support -- no one in Washington talks about the British "regime" or the Canadian "regime" -- there's nothing that government can do, short of unconditional surrender, that will please the US.

      If Iran didn't want nuclear weapons before, this past decade will have underscored why they should covet them. Only then would the Americans and Israelis back off.

    • It's almost like Israel (this looks like Mossad work to me, altho' they could also be working with the CIA) is daring Iran to retaliate to these constant provocations, perhaps to then justify the full military strike so many in Israel would like to see.

      Given this legacy of murder, what sort of harvest does Israel expect to reap, should Iran or another hostile Muslim state ever truly gain nuclear weapons? It's not like they might not bear a grudge after all this terrorism.

      It's very sad to see the Israelis, of all people, become a mirror image of the evils they have historically faced.

    • BLAM!! Another Iranian civilian scientist, plus his driver, murdered by obvious foreign or foreign-sponsored assassins.

      Really, these are acts of covert war. If Iran doesn't respond in some way, they only invite more of the same (that's always been Israel's policy toward aggression, anyway). You have to ask, how long would the US tolerate the assassination of its nationals on its own soil by foreign provocateurs? What an ugly double-standard is at work in the world.

  • GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
    • "War's good business, so give your sons." -- Grace Slick, from "Rejoyce"

      It is horribly shameful that the US has descended to this -- behaving like any of the worst, most arrogant empires through history, full of fear, ready to launch sneak attacks on any perceived rival, no matter how nebulous the threat. It was only as recently as 1962 that RFK argued against attacking Russian missile sites in Cuba on the grounds of not wanting his brother to be "the American Tojo." We've had a number of American Tojos since then, and the prospect of more to come.

      All out of fear and paranoia -- fear of a country that has not attacked us, is not threatening to attack us, a fear that's more Israel's than America's. To launch a war on the basis of what you fear *might* happen is simply immoral and illegal. I might fear all sorts of imagined terrors from my neighbors, but that doesn't entitle me to open fire on them in their homes. That would be the act of a madman -- what do we call it when a nation acts in this way?

      The rest of the world needs to clamp down on this unilateral US aggression and hegemonic behavior, sooner than later, before millions more suffer.

  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • I am following this story very keenly and would like some followup information or comments on a few items. One, what happened to the sophisticated air defence system the Russians were once slated to deliver to Iran? Was that scuttled for good? Seems that anything the Russians could do to significantly deter an Israeli attack would be a helpful counterweight to American enabling of Israel's aggressive tendencies. And following on this, if the Israelis are able to reach Iranian air space (and exactly how? Over Iraq? From submarines and naval vessels? From friendly bases in the Caucasus?), could the Russians themselves directly interdict such an attack with their own air forces? Would they do so? Or would such a threat itself act to deter the Israelis?

Showing comments 87 - 1